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    AMA: 5 problems with meaningful use

    Stage 3 of the Medicare/Medicaid incentive programs for the meaningful use of electronic health records (EHRs) should not move forward until challenges associated with stages 1 and 2 have been studied and addressed, according to formal comments submitted to the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) by the American Medical Association (AMA).

    “The AMA shares the administration’s goal of widespread EHR adoption and use, but we again stress our continuing concern that the meaningful use program is moving forward without a comprehensive evaluation of previous stages to resolve existing problems,” said AMA Board Chairman Steven J. Stack, MD. “A full evaluation of past stages and more flexible program requirements will help physicians in different specialties and practice arrangements successfully adopt and use EHRs.”

    The AMA outlined five issues it sees with the meaningful use program:

    • No evaluation process exists. An external, independent evaluation is necessary to improve and inform the future of the program, the organization says.
    • A pass rate of 100% is not "reasonable and achievable." Failing to meet just one measure by 1% would make a physician ineligible for incentives and subject to financial penalties, according to the AMA.
    • The program takes a one-size-fits-all approach, which is not appropriate. Program requirements should be more flexible and better structured to accommodate various practice patterns and specialties, the AMA says.
    • The usability of certified EHRs is not addressed. The EHR certification process should address physician usability concerns, the group says.
    • Health information technology (IT) infrastructure barriers need to be resolved. The health IT infrastructure does not enable physicians to readily electronically share patient data with other healthcare providers, according to the AMA, which says that infrastructure improvement to allow an efficient and secure electronic information exchange must be a priority.



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